I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for December, 2015

How Friends Can Help During the First Holidays After A Loss

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 24, 2015

The first year of grief can be a roller coaster of emotions that are unpredictable.  Your friend has embarked on a journey they wished they never had to take, and at each turn they find that life has changed and they have to chart a new course.  The first year of holidays and family celebrations can bring a sense of uneasiness and displacement.  Everything is new for them and yet the rest of the world seems to have remained the same.

Many questions are probably going through their mind – Will I want to celebrate the holidays?  Will anyone remember my loss?  If I sleep through the holidays, will it make all the deep feelings of sadness go away?  And when will they stop showing all the happy commercials of families enjoying the holidays?

After my mother passed away, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were a blur.  It felt like we were going through the motions but not really present.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends at my mom’s house.  After my mom passed away, I felt like I was lost and did not know where I fit in anymore.  It took many years, but my family found a way to combine new and old traditions and embrace my mom’s memory at the same time.

How friends can help during the holidays

Respect their decisions about the holidays.  Each person’s reaction to the holidays, after a loss, is unique.  Some may find comfort in continuing with family traditions, others may wish to start a new tradition, and still others may want to travel and be away from home during the holidays.  Respect their decision and understand that they are doing their best to make their way through the snowflake-cookiesmany emotions they are feeling.

Encourage Simplicity.  If the person grieving usually hosts the family festivities or has a long To Do List this time of year, offer your assistance.  Holiday dinners can take a lot of energy to prepare, offer to host the family dinner or help prepare the meal.  You may even want to suggest going to a restaurant for a stress free dinner.  Holiday shopping can also be stressful, offer to help them with the shopping or suggest that the family reduces the number of presents by drawing names.

Help them make a plan.  Although your friend may think they are up to putting together all the traditional family activities, they may find that they become overwhelmed in the process.  Assist them in creating a plan for the holidays that encourages self-care and helps them move through the holidays with a little more ease.  And if they choose to skip the holidays this year, be supportive.

Acknowledge the Loss.  Be sure to acknowledge your friend’s loss this time of year and don’t be afraid to use the name of the person that has passed away.  Send a card, make a phone call, stop by with a plate of their favorite holiday treat and remind them that you are thinking about them.

Share Your Memories.  Sharing memories and pictures can be very therapeutic. It allows everyone involved to share their memories and honor the person that has passed away.

Pamper the mind, body and spirit.  The depth of emotions that grieving can bring is exhausting – mentally and physically.  Encourage your friend to take care of themselves by eating nutritious meals, getting exercise and taking time to process the feelings they are going through.

Holiday Gifts – Should you or shouldn’t you?  If your friend decides that they want to exchange gifts, consider buying something for them like you normally would and also include a memorial gift in remembrance of their loved one.  A memorial ornament, a scrapbook with pictures of their loved one, a journal or a favorite holiday pastry, shows your friend that you acknowledge their loss.

Ask Questions.  If you are not sure what your friend needs, be sure to ask questions, listen and respect their decision.  If they want some time alone, allow them to have their space, but let them know you are there for them anytime.

Leave the front and back door open.  Feelings of grief throughout the holidays can be unpredictable.  Allow your friend the space to join-in at the last minute or back-out of holiday activities without feeling guilty.

The best present you can bring is your Love.  Deep feelings of grief can leave your friend feeling lifeless.  Pamper them, hug them, love them, and take special care of them. Remind them that although they have lost a loved one, they still have family and friends that love them.

The first year after a loss is a start of a new life.  Just like walking for the first time, your loved one may feel wobbly and may fall down many times as they find their way.  But have faith that they will work through the deep feelings that come with grief, and with the love and support of friends and family, they will find joy again – one tiny step at a time.


® 2011-2015 Lori Pederson WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?  You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a loved one through the grieving process.  If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a loved one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com

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How to Support a Grieving Loved One this Holiday Season

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 8, 2015

How to Support a Grieving Loved one During the Holidays

Thoughtful Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Grief Support  Groups, Articles & Resources

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Gift Baskets & Food Gifts
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Memorial Trees & Flowers
Military Memorials Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items And More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

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